SAM Allardyce has warned English football faces “a bleak future” - unless the FA makes drastic moves to reignite the country’s dying conveyor belt of young talent.
The Blackburn Rovers boss enters today’s re-opening of the transfer window expecting a quiet January at Ewood Park but knows the majority of Premier League transfer business will be done abroad.
Rovers visit Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round tomorrow, one of the sides able to boast a predominantly British side, but Allardyce fears Martin O’Neill’s squad are becoming an increasingly isolated example.
He said: “If you have the money to buy English then you have the chance that Martin O’Neill has got and he has done a very, very good job.
“He has paid good money but not outrageous money and he has bought young, and those players have developed very well indeed while they have been at Aston Villa.
“But there are not any more you can buy these days. There are very few young developing English players in the lower leagues.That is full of foreign players and older players from the Premier League moving down because of the influx of foreigners in the top league.”
From next season, new Premier League rules will state every club has to name at least eight ‘home grown’ players in a squad of 25, which means players who have been registered for at least three seasons at an English or Welsh club between the ages of 16 and 21.
Allardyce though insists that will have little effect on solving the increasing shortage of young English talent and urged the game’s governing bodies to act before it is too late.
He said: “If you are sat at the FA and you truly are immersed in what English football is about to do then you need to get off your backside and do something very quickly.
“Because the English national side is going to struggle hugely and if we decide to do something about it then - we are already six years behind - so we have to be proactive very, very quickly.
“We need the Premier League to join in with that but the Premier League don’t have a responsibility to do it. They have a responsibility to have the best league in the world and continue that.
“That obviously now is immersed in about 65 per cent to 70 per cent foreign players now - probably more. At the end of the day if we want a strong national side we are going to have to do something about producing young players.
“Home-grown players is not the answer because they could all be foreigners. All the rule will do is bring young foreigners in at 16 and develop them for three years, so they become home grown players.
“It is players in the British Isles we want to develop and it is only the FA that can be totally and utterly responsible in the whole country for football and they have to take the bull by the horns and make sure we produce the players we haven’t been producing for 10 years now.”